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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Bachelet’s victory, Jade Rabbit’s first Moon pics, Microsoft’s cloud vision, thousand-year graveyards

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Reconciliation in South Africa. The day after Nelson Mandela’s burial in his childhood village is also the country’s national Day of Reconciliation, instituted after the end of apartheid. A statue of Mandela will be unveiled outside government headquarters in Pretoria.

Remembering Delhi’s “fearless one.” Memorials will be held in London and Delhi for the Indian student whose brutal gang-rape on a bus one year ago today, and subsequent death, stunned the country but has led to only limited reform.

John Kerry is in Vietnam. The US Secretary of State and Vietnam War veteran visited the Mekong Delta over the weekend and discussed the threat of climate change and poorly planned hydropower dams. In meetings with officials in Hanoi, he’s expected to discuss territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Australia could cut Qantas loose. Prime minister Tony Abbott suggested he was more likely to support lifting foreign-ownership restrictions on the increasingly cash-strapped national airline than give it more government help.

Over the weekend

China’s factories unexpectedly slowed. The preliminary manufacturing index fell to 50.5 in December from 50.8 last month, indicating economic expansion could be losing momentum.

Japan’s mixed economic messages. Business confidence rose to its highest level in six years in November, but the Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey showed companies were less optimistic. The bearish sentiments triumphed in stock market trading, with the Nikkei down 1.2%.

Glaxo ups its stake in India. The drugmaker will spend about $1 billion to raise its ownership in its Indian subsidiary from 51% to the legal maximum of 75%.

The EU got fed up with Ukraine. Mass rallies against the government continued in Kiev after its attempts to squeeze a better trade deal out of the EU foundered; Ukraine’s demands had “no grounds in reality,” tweeted the EU’s enlargement chief.

Chile’s Bachelet is president, again. Left-leaning Michelle Bachelet easily won Sunday’s run-off election; she was president from 2006-10 but was constitutionally barred from a second term.

Kim Jong-un’s aunt survived. Despite her husband’s execution last week, Kim Kyong-hui remained on a list of top North Korean officials.

Jade Rabbit sent back its first images. China’s lunar probe—the first in almost four decades—beamed back images of the rover, which is expected to operate for a year.

Quartz obsession interlude

A possible next CEO of Microsoft tells Leo Mirani about his vision of it as a cloud-services company. “I think reconceptualizing Microsoft as a devices and services company is absolutely what our vision is all about… Does that mean we won’t have our software available for other people to build on? No. Windows is available outside of our devices. Windows server is available outside of our data centres… But at the same time, there is also the customer expectation that we should complete the scenario. That means running a cloud platform, running a cloud service.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China is losing interest in soft power. Beijing’s crackdown on foreign journalists shows it cares more about hiding its leaders’ wealth.

The White House blindsided Saudi Arabia. A Saudi royal blasted the Obama administration for its dealings with Iran and the Syrian opposition.

The ADHD epidemic is a creation of the drug industry. The marketing of ADHD remedies has driven diagnoses out of all proportion with reality.

The Federal Reserve could be losing its power. US companies are spending more on software and less on big investments, so they’re becoming less sensitive to borrowing costs, and hence, interest rates.

Surprising discoveries

IKEA spied on its workers in France. The company gave private investigators personal data and bank account details.

Cincinnati’s once-beautiful public library. Historic photos show the facility used to be a gorgeous temple dedicated to books and reading.

Left luggage for winter coats. People departing Frankfurt’s airport for holidays in warmer climes can save space by leaving their bulky winter jackets behind.

Syria’s conflict makes for great TV. A ground-breaking drama, banned in Syria, depicts the complexities of the revolution.

Secrets of the thousand-year graveyard. Bones buried over a millennium outside an Italian church are yielding unique insights about the evolution of disease.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, favorite old libraries and Syrian teleplays to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.


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